M. Skuodis met ICAO officials visiting Lithuania and investigating Ryanair flight incident

On Wednesday, Minister of Transport and Communications Marius Skuodis met the International Civil Aviation Organization Fact-Finding Investigation Team (ICAO FFIT), who have come to Lithuania to investigate the forced landing of a Ryanair passenger plane in Minsk at the end of May, and reiterated his support for the international effort to carry out a comprehensive investigation of this incident and offered full national support and cooperation.

The ICAO FFIT investigators in charge of the international investigation are visiting countries related to the incident and gathering information, data and facts to reconstruct the sequence of events of this incident. In Lithuania, the investigators had meetings with state institutions, and at the end of their visit they met the Minister of Transport and Communications.

“An independent investigation by the International Civil Aviation Organization should answer the questions to what really happened when the Ryanair liner en route from Athens to Vilnius was forcibly landed. We appreciate that ICAO has assumed this responsibility and we offer full cooperation during the investigation,” said Minister Skuodis at the meeting.

The Minister noted that the unprecedented forced landing of the plane in Belarus must be investigated to prevent similar violations of international air transport regulations. According to the Minister, if no long-term preventive actions are taken, such incidents might repeat and further damage the safety and reputation of the aviation sector.

The Prosecutor General‘s Office of the Republic of Lithuania has started a preliminary investigation regarding forced disappearance and seizure of aircraft. Since the Ryanair plane was registered in Poland, the authorities of this country are also investigating the incident – the ICAO FFIT investigators already met the Polish authorities last week.

The term for the ICAO investigation into the forced landing of a Ryanair plane in Minsk has been extended until September to gather additional information from countries and organizations related to the incident. A final investigation report is expected in November.

On 24–25 May, in the European Council conclusions, leaders of the EU countries and governments strongly condemned the illegal forced landing of a Ryanair flight in Minsk, endangering aviation safety. Shortly afterward, the European Union (EU) banned Belarusian carriers from the EU airspace and airports.

Pranešimą paskelbė: Žydrūnė Tursaitė, LR Susisiekimo ministerija

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